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Democratic Alliance 'delighted' by SA election results but ANC vote holds up

media Voters queue in the early morning for South Africa's municipal elections Reuters/Mark Wessels

The announcement of final local election results from South Africa’s largest cities has been delayed by counting and auditing. The Independent Electoral Commission’s prediction that the final picture would be clear by early evening was put back several hours.

Early results from Wednesday's vote show the ruling African National Congress (ANC) retaining control of the municipalities it has traditionally held. But the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) has made big advances.

Predictions that people disenchanted with the ANC would either abstain or spoil their ballots in haven’t materialised but the DA is delighted at its improvement from 14 per cent five years ago to 23 per cent this time.

“It’s very good for democracy,” DA leader Helen Zille told RFI. “This is the election that will turn things around for us.”

Her party has swept Cape Town, retained Midrand, a rural council south of Johannesburg, and gained the picturesque Southern Cape resort of Kynsna.

It has also won symbolically important seats in traditionally black townships like Alexandra, Khatlehong and Pimville, near Johannesburg.

The gains for the ANC and the DA are at the expense of the smaller parties.

They have also profited from the higher voter turnout in excess of 54 per cent, which is a healthy jump from the 48 per cent in the previous mid-term elections.

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